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Memphis Depay continued his remarkable run of form with a goal and an assist as Lyon beat Nantes 2-0 on Saturday to strengthen their grip on a top-three spot in Ligue 1, as Monaco were held to a goalless draw by Amiens.
Bruno Genesio’s men moved into second in the table with three matches to play, one point above stuttering Monaco and three clear of Marseille. Monaco’s stalemate leaves them winless in three matches, while Marseille visit Angers on Sunday as the two sides fight it out with Lyon for two Champions League spots behind champions Paris Saint-Germain.
“We did the job by taking all three points, all the matches until the end will be decisive,” said Lyon midfielder Lucas Tousart. “We were not put in too much danger defensively and we had a lot of chances to score. We could have scored more but we got the win, and that’s the main thing.”
Lyon took the lead five minutes before half-time as Nabil Fekir ran clear of the Nantes midfield and picked out Depay in space. The 24-year-old Dutchman did the rest, turning onto his left foot and firing into the bottom corner past visiting goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu.
Lyon dominated in the second half but struggled to put their dogged opponents away, with centre-back Marcelo heading wide when unmarked at the back post from a Depay free-kick.
But the home side wrapped up the points midway through the second half, as Depay jinked past two defenders and teed up Bertrand Traore to slam the ball home. Former Manchester United winger Depay has now scored seven goals and assisted six in his last six league games.
Fekir drew a flying save from Tatarusanu as Lyon pressed in vain for a third, but a straightfoward victory over Claudio Ranieri’s Nantes keeps their Champions League hopes in their own hands. Monaco’s chances of a top-three finish were dealt a serious blow, though, as they failed to find a way past Amiens at the Stade Louis II.
Leonardo Jardim’s men looked to be easing to a top-two finish just a fortnight ago, but they have yet to recover from a 7-1 thrashing at PSG that saw the capital club end Monaco’s Ligue 1 title defence.
A 3-1 loss at Guingamp last weekend dragged the principality side back into the Champions League scrap, and despite fielding a strong side including Radamel Falcao, Thomas Lemar and Rony Lopes, they were left frustrated by Amiens.
“The situation is serious, we lost two points, one of our opponents (Lyon) have gained points on us and we’re waiting for the other (Marseille) tomorrow,” said Jardim. “There are three games (left), nine points… If we are fourth tomorrow night it’s the same thing.
We must fight. (If we’re fourth) at the end of the season, however, it wouldn’t be the same thing.” Both sides finished with 10 men as Monaco midfielder Adama Diakhaby and visiting defender Prince-Desir Gouano were sent off after clashing in injury-time. -AFP